Don't Stop


colette_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif

Scene Title Don't Stop
Synopsis There can never be too much when it comes to words of love and reassurance.
Date June 12, 2010

Gun Hill Tasha and Colette's Apartment

After returning home from the Ferry meeting, Tasha checked for any sign of Colette, before setting out yet again. Up and down the streets near the Gun Hill safehouse, all the while calling anyone she has a number for who might know where she is. She hadn't told the Ferry operatives that Colette is missing, the word one she can't quite manage to speak aloud, though the fact that Colette was absent probably sparked some curiosity — if it did, no one asked her about it. She's not sure what she would have answered.

Tasha isn't sure if Colette had a vision, but her absence makes her worry she did — and if the visions are true, visions of what will happen in the future, she knows Colette is upset and afraid. But why she's run away, that is the question Tasha is afraid to ask.

Just as she's determined that the next person she should call is the police, to ask for Judah's extension, her battery dies. "Goddamnit," she hisses, earning herself a rebuking look from a woman walking a small rat-like dog. Tasha turns on her heels and heads back toward Gun Hill to plug her phone in and use the land line.

Their small apartment is still empty — the note Tasha left untouched on the bed. Tasha picks up the landline phone to call 4-1-1 but only gets as far as the '4' before holding the receiver against her forehead, shoulders shaking as she begins to cry.

That the door to the apartment creaks open is testament to the fact that Tasha forgot to close it all the way behind her. The slow opening of the door into the mostly vacant apartment comes with the clunk of bootfalls and the jingle of keys, along with the faint smell of gasoline and exhaust, the same gritty smells thst Colette usually has clinging over her after she's spent an afternoon working on that god-awful machine she rides around on. It may be a beat up old piece of junk, but it's hers and she helped bring it back from the dead.

The olfactory cue is a correct one, because through the open doorway to the bedroom, Tasha can see Colette's darkly dressed frame moving down the hall towards the bathroom, seemingly oblivious to the fact that there's anyone else in the apartment at all. She's visible only for the barest of moments when she passes in front of the door, but the remainder of the walk she has to make is a short one.

Grimy fingers flick on the light switch, with a momentary lapse between dark and light before the fluorescent bulbs above the mirror buzz and click on. The black denim jeans that Colette is wearing match the similarly styled short jacket, though the stink of stagnant water hanging around her is more subtle than the odor of gasoline and exhaust fumes.

Moving over to the sink, Colette slouches forward and rests her hands down on the sides to let her head hang and posture droop. Theres a tinny noise coming from her, from the headphones plugged into her ears cranked up loud enough to be heard even with the ear-buds plugged in, a thin line of white wie dangling from them connecting to the mp3 player in her jacket pocket; probably why she isn't aware that she's not alone.

That also isn't evident right away are the bags Colette deposited by the doorway of the apartment, two large gray canvas duffelbags and a black backpack, all looking packed full. It's not that she's planning to go somewhere, rather that it looks like she's already been somewhere.

A nasal recording of the words "«If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and try again»" followed by a three-tone chime is repeated in Tasha's ears even as she notes the footfalls making their way to the bathroom and Tasha sobs, the word "Colette" barely recognizable as a name.

With shaking hands, Tasha rattles the receiver of the landline phone back in the cradle, then stands up to hurry down the corridor, coming to a stop in the doorway as Colette washes her face.

Tasha waits, staring at the reflection, her own face pale but for the red swollen eyes. But it's too long a wait, especially for one who's been waiting for so-very-long — Tasha doesn't want to startle Colette, so she clears her throat, then lightly reaches to touch the other girl's shoulder.

That Colette is surprised by someone sneaking up on her has something to say about her frame of mind right now, having nearly literal eyes in the back of her head does a great deal for her ability to be alert of her surroundings; today is not a normal day. The touch to Colette's shoulder has her jolting up and staring into the mirror, looking out over the reflection of her shoulder to meet Tasha's far darker and more matching eyes.

It's obvious Colette hasn't slept much in the last few days, from the dark circles under her eyes that she's trying to hide with even darker makeup, making her look unintentionally cadaverous with her pale skin and dark hair. Swallowing tensely, Colette's eyes well up with tears the moment she sees Tasha, and as she turns around to face her, Colette's lifting her hands up to pluck the headphones from her ears. The noise emanating from them becomes more apparent and that she was listening to her headphones with the volume at max couldn't be good for her hearing.

Shakily swallowing, Colette sniffles wetly and reaches inside of her jacket, fumbling around before she finds a button — any button— that quiets the music playing and drops the bathroom into abject silence. "I left my phone…" Colette begins with a bit of a false start, her voice hitching somewhere in the middle, "I— think it's in Lynette's apartment somewhere." Which doesn't excuse her lack of contact at all. "I'm— sorry."

Her face contorting as she tries not to sob, as she tries to be the strong one for once, Tasha shakes her head at the apology and the explanation about the phone. Her hand, having dropped from Colete's shoulder, lifts, as if to pull her into a hug, but drops again, unsure if she'll scare the other away. "It h-h-has like a zillion m-messages on it — I'm sorry. I'll go through and delete them for you and save you like nine hours of me asking where you are in voice and text if you want," she stammers, as tears slide down her face. "Are… are you m-mad at me?" That hand lifts again, haltingly, then reaches to touch Colette's cheek gently. "Are you okay?"

"No," is a succinct answer to absolutely everything Tasha asked of Colette, but despite the coldness to which it is delivered, it segues into Colette stepping into Tasha's arms and wrapping her own around the younger girl's waist. Colette presses her face down to the side of Tasha's neck and curs fingers into the back of her shirt, breathing in deeply as the feeling of warm tears meet the bare skin of Tasha's throat. Colette sniffles back a sob with relative strength. That she'd gotten much of her crying out over the last few days has helped this eventual reunion.

Lifting her head up slowly, Colette places a kiss to Tasha's cheek and leaves her nose pressed there afterward. Eyes closed, she whispers, "I love you," as firmly as she can with that tight embrace emphasizing the point of the matter. "I'm sorry," for something that Colette doesn't admit, and her lips pluck against Tasha's cheek again, her arms trembling subtly in their embrace.

The sigh of relief that comes from Tasha when Colette wraps herself around her speaks volumes. There is still so much to be afraid of — the vision she had, whatever it was that Colette saw, why Colette felt the need to flee — but all of those things seem so much more manageable with Colette's arms around her, with Colette's lips on her cheek. That cheek pulls upward into a smile, followed by another sob.

Tasha's bandaged hand wraps as firmly around Colette's waist, her other hand running up through the hair at the nape of the taller girl's neck before the fingers curl around that hair. "I love you and I'm here and we'll … we'll stop whatever it was or change it or … or I don't know, maybe it isn't true at all, but whatever it is, Colette, we can fix it, okay? I'm sure of it. I promise you. I won't let anything bad happen to you." It's a repeat of the promise that Colette made to her — both impossible promises to keep.

"I was at my dad's…" is the dismissive answer to Tasha's reassurances, delivered with a brush of Colette's lips across Tasha's cheek before the brunette disengages from Tasha's side. "I'm— sorry I didn't call you or… I just— I had things to sort out. I'll… everything's okay." Swallowing noisily, Colette looks back at herself in the mirror, then backt o Tasha with furrowed brows and a hand slowly reaching up to cup the brunette's palm in her cheek.

The touch lingers, ultimately seeming to draw Colette back to Tasha's side. She slides an arm around her waist, pulls her close and leans back against the sink, drawing Tasha towards her. "I had to check on my dad," she whispers with a kiss to Tasha's hair, "I had to— I had some stuff to get, but it'll be alright. You don't— you don't have to worry about me, there's nobody else I'd rather be with but you, not now, not ever." Not after what she saw.

Squeezing Tasha tightly, Colette brushes her cheek and nose across Tasha's neck, then tracks a trail of kisses all the way up to her lips. "I'm sorry for worrying you and— " wandering hands find the brace on Tasha's wrist, and Colette looks down to the unfamiliar texture before squinting and looking back up in silent question.

"Who did— " too accusatory, "how— how'd you get hurt?"

"It's just a sprain," Tasha says in a hurry to the last question, her lips finding Colette's again and kissing her less gently, less fragilely — now that she knows they aren't broken, that she is still what the other wants. Her eyes shine at the words, her lips curving into a smile at the reassurances.

"I was in Staten, getting some of the stuff the kids forgot. I fell down, and the klutz I am, I sprained my wrist. Nothing big. Could be worse. My mom got a concussion in the court room," she babbles a little between kisses.

"Do you … do you want to talk about what you s-saw?" Tasha asks, uncertainly. She isn't sure what she saw, and she's afraid of what she saw, and worse, she's afraid talking about it might send Colette fleeing from her arms far away from her — when all she needs at this moment is to feel Colette near and safe.

"I didn't see anything," Colette mumbles as if they were discussing something on television of minor importance, not a city-wide catastrophic event. The dismissal comes with a touch of Colette's hand to the side of Tasha's cheek as she leans away from the younger girl and sidesteps around her, letting her hand brush along her cheek and down her neck before making her way to the bathroom door and disengaging entirely to walk back down the short corridor towards the apartment foyer.

Boots clomp noisily as Colette walks from the bathroom, slowly shedding her denim jacket and throwing it blindly into the bedroom on her way past the door. The snugly fitting black t-shirt she wears beneath has a tear on the right side below her arm, looking like a split along the seams from wear and age, must be an old favorite of hers.

"C'mon out here…" Colette offers as she walks, waving back over her shoulder with two fingers.

"You didn't see — but what upset you, then?" Tasha says, brows knitting together into that worried look she often wears, even as she follows the other, her own footfalls much quieter in her low-cut black Converse sneakers; anklet socks in lime green can be seen slouching down from the heels.

"I … do you think they were like… the future or just ba— er, dreams?" Saying bad dream will tip off Colette that whatever Tasha saw was likely bad, and she hopes the other didn't notice the slip. "I remember hearing there was some dream walker person who caused a buncha problems here a few months back. Could this be like that?" Not that she wants another Nightmare Man, but it'd be a lot more welcome than what she saw being a possible future for Colette, Tamara, herself. "My d-dad, he said he had no idea what happened. I- Eileen is making me go with Cat to talk to him…" Making might be a strong word.

Looking over her shoulder to Tasha, Colette's brows furrow slighly and there's a momentarily haunted look in her mismatched eyes. "It isn't the Nightmare Man…" she seems to be able to clearly admit, "Kaylee told me he's dead, and I believe her." That Colette knows as much as she does about that isn't something she's gone into, and the details of her own visitation by that horrible spectre still haunt her to this very way. Turning her back on Tasha, Colette moves over to the backpacks and bags by the door, crouching down and pulling the black backpack aside, unzipping the top as she stares down inside for a moment.

"I dunno what happened," is a clever way of not answering Tasha's question of why she left and what upset her. "My dad's really busy right onw with all of this going on, I— " Colette's head shakes slowly, and when she withdraws a holster and a pistol from inside her attention goes back up to Tasha.

"You're going to need to start carrying this," Colette explains with a hitch in her voice, offering it up and out to Tasha. It's an inelegant under-arm holster for a nine-millimeter handgun, but even a Baretta packs significant punch for someone untrained.

"Twice a week I want you to take shooting lessons down on Staten Island, with Raith." Admittedly Colette hasn't cleared that with anyone yet, but Raith doesn't seem like the one to turn away armed young ladies on his doorstep— or hasn't yet at any rate. "You can't legally carry in the city, but I want you with it anyway. If you get caught with it your dad should be able to pull strings and understand."

Something has Colette not only spooked, but scared enough to be handing out guns to someone like Tasha. "There's a pair of vests in here too, some emergency supplies and just…" Colette waves a hand dismissively at the duffelbag. "Most of this is going to get stuck in the closet, I just want you to keep that with you. Even if you have to keep it in a bag and don't wear it. I just— Eileen's right."

Colette wasn't at the meeting, which implies some other instance of Eileen communicating the need to arm up. "I need to start relying on things other than my ability, and you— " Colette hesitates saying don't even have one, but instead chooses the more diplomatic, "should— just— just listen to me." While Colette seems calm, it's that shaky kind of calm that implies some form of denial.

Tasha's brown eyes get wide as Colette pulls out the gun and holster — not that she hasn't seen a gun or even held one, but this is different than on a mission or going after feral dogs on Staten Island. She presses her lips into a fine line to keep them from trembling, though she can't keep her brows from that permanent perplexed look. She reaches to take the gun, glancing down at it with worry, then back to Colette.

"Colette," she whispers. She didn't think she could be more afraid than she was on Thursday, seeing what she believes was Colette's blood all over Colette and Tamara, herself too late to stop it. Tasha has been researching the visions on the internet, and one thing is clear — that people saw different times — morning, noon, night. Colette's words make her worry — she saw Colette in danger — what did Colette see? Is it possible that she saw Tasha injured, or worse?

"I … " she begins again, setting the gun down on one of the lawn chairs in the living room just off the entry way — they really need to find some real furniture — as if in a hurry to get it out of her hands. But her words contradict the gesture. "If it makes you feel better," Tasha manages, stepping closer to Colette to offer her arms again, pulling the other into a tight hug. "We'll keep each other safe, okay? Whatever it was — it doesn't have to happen."

Her words imply that Tasha doesn't buy that Colette didn't see anything. But then, Tasha isn't willing to say what she saw just yet, either.

Colette rises up from her crouch beside the bags into Tasha's embrace, sliding her hands up across the brunette's back and press her hands against Tasha, as if trying to reassure herself that every part of her is very real. Colette's embrace tightens briefly before she chokes out one noise that might have turned into a sob if she didn't catch herself in time. There's a noisy, tight swallow, and Colette holds her shaky self next to Tasha, eyes shut and face hidden in the younger girl's neck as if nothing bad can hurt her there, as if she could close her eyes and make the rest of the world go away except for the two of them.

"I love you," Colette breathes out against Tasha's neck in a way that cracks and wavers, the admission of care that is spoken as if worried it may be for the last time, "no one's ever made me feel as needed as you have, I— I don't know if I ever really… really told you that. I don't know if I ever told you how much you mean to me, how— " Colette cuts herself off, awkwardly laughing and turning her head away from Tasha's so that she can wipe at her eyes.

"I'll stop," Colette splutters, realizing how dubious the entire thing must sound.

Her face pressed into Colette's head when Colette nestles her face against her neck, Tasha sobs in response to that sound that is almost a sob. In so many things, she echoes and mirrors Colette, and now is no different. "I love you, too," she murmurs, her eyes growing damp and hot against the locks of dark hair.

"Don't stop," she counters, with a smirk, catching Colette's hand and beginning to walk back down the hallway backwards, tugging Colette to follow this time. "I do need you. The last couple of days have been horrible, unbearable, and I never want to be without you ever again, Colette," she whispers, her dark eyes serious and solemn before she makes it to the bathroom.

Her free hand turns the light back on, and she tugs Colette in. "But now I think you need a hot shower. And you know… with the pipes that froze and broke and such during the storm, they're saying we need to conserve water. So I think I'll take one with you… you know. For the sake of the planet and all."

Her free hand reaches to turn on the shower, letting it heat up while she turns her attention to Colette's clothing — and getting the girl out of it. "They said we need to do the buddy system thing. You're stuck with me," Tasha says, leaning to kiss Colette's forehead sweetly even as she performs the less sweet task of disrobing her.

That Colette hardly knows how to react under these circumstances is testament to the mental rearrangement she's put herself thorugh over the last couple of days. Traipsing through the flooded subway tunnels, riding her dirtbike up and down Manhattan and Staten Island, none of it has been particularly easy on the minagerie of odors emitted from the young girl, making her smell equal parts urban and decay in no flattering manners. However despite the acrid stink of gasoline clinging to her clothing, Colette breathes in deeply and sharply when Tasha aggressively takes command of this particular situation and sees fit to begin stripping her of clothing.

Colette stumbles right over her own two feet in the backroom, clunking up against the door as she squirms from side to side, the dark fabric of her t-shirt working up and over her shoulders, up past arms lifted over her head. That Colette can laugh at this, or more correctly giggle embarrassedly at this, is testament to Tasha's capacity for lifting Colette's spirits and finding just the right and unexpected thing to distract her with.

When that black shirt lands on the floor, Colette's arms drape around Tasha's shoulders, and she draws the brunette in close to her bare torso, nose to nose, lips to lips, swaying from side to side as her hands slide down shoulders, under Tasha's arms, then down along her sides following the younger girl's silhouette.

"I'll be right beside you," Colette finally whispers against Tasha's lips, "I don't have…" her voice trails off and is quickly replaced with a brief kiss before she finds less troublesome explanations. "There's no one else I'd rather be with," is reiterated, perhaps for emphasis, or perhaps to convince Colette of that fact.

That she's tugging Tasha's shirt up to match her own lacking clothing situation implies that Colette doesn't need much convincing at all. "I love you," is said as Colette's thumb anxiously spins the silver puzzle ring around her ring finger.

A small combination bathtub/shower is hardly a romantic metaphor for cleansing of fears and the re-affirming of vows of love, but it will have to serve. Tasha's yellow t-shirt contrasts with Colette's on the bathroom floor, then both are joined by Colette's pants and Tasha's cargos, boots and sneakers, mis-matched socks and lime-green anklet socks in a motley tangle of dirty laundry that will likely not get picked up for a few days, as neither of the two are neat freaks.

Tasha steps carefully over the rim of the tub, then pulls Colette to follow, before grinning. Knowing the words that Colette has craved her entire life, she begins to sing, "Have I told you lately that I love you? Have I told you there's no one else above you? You fill my days with gladness… take away all my sadness… you ease my troubles, that's what you do…"

Her voice sweet and surprisingly good, Tasha reaches for the shampoo, continuing to serenade Colette as she turns her around, letting the water soak her to wash away the grime and dirt of the streets of New York — and hopefully the fear along with it.

In all the time that Colette spent with Tamara, those words never got said back to her, in all the time she'd been saying them to anyone who earned them they were never said back. Hearing them now, hearing them sung back has Colette cracking a crooked and emotional smile, laughter and the broken up sounds confused between nearly crying and nearly laughing being oddly juxtaposed.

Colette's arms slide around Tasha, draws the other girl close, holds her tightly and doesn't for a moment let her go. Even as the warming water rains down on them both, Colette just presses herself to the brunette, holds her close against her bare body and lets that hot water roll off their shoulders, soak thorugh Colette's hair and run down her cheeks in thick rivulets. The water follows thr grooves and tracks in the scars across Colette's shoulders and side, runs between their bodies and washes the street from their skin.

"Don't stop," is what Colette manages to shakily whisper against Tasha's cheek in a squeaking voice as she holds her close under the hot shower water, "please?" As much as it is a plea to keep singing, it's also a plea to not stop that emotion, to not stop loving Colette. After what she's seen, after what she fears is coming, knowing that there's someone out there capable of returning that love is exactly what she needs.

The hot water helps hide the fact that she can't stop crying now too.

The only problem is that Tasha only knows the one verse — Rod Stewart isn't really high up on her iPod's playlist. Rod Stewart, in fact, is nowhere on her iPod's playlist. But — Tasha wasn't a high school thespian for naught. She can improvise. She whispers, "Never," and launches into the same verse again. Second verse, same as the first — just a little bit louder and a little bit worse, as the chorus went back in campfire songs.

Clinging to Colette under the shower water that rains down on them, only now noting that she forgot to take off the nylon splint and smirking a little at the soggy discovery, Tasha presses her lips to the space just below Colette's ear, kissing softly, before singing again, a little giggle breaking the words that she repeats:

"Have I told you lately that I love you? Have I told you there's no one else above you? You fill my heart with gladness… you take away all my sadness… you ease my troubles, that's what you do…"

She will repeat the single verse until Colette's tears stop… or until she begs for Tasha to stop.

That request never comes, just Colette's shaky and not-quite-ready for Broadway voice joining in to sing the same repeated lyrics that Tasha has been. She can't sing worth a damn, but it doesn't really matter, the only person listening would love the sound of her voice regardless, and the shower walls have no comment. With her arms wrapped around Tasha and clinging to her, Colette finds comfort in the words of a girl she never intended to fall in love with, but has found the normality that she struggled for so hard with someone else.

Colette may be breaking down between verses, but not all the tears shed are entirely sad ones. These enough to be happy about, enough to enjoy with the person she loves, enough things for her to cherish in the time Colette has left to live. It takes until the hot water runs out and the water runs ice cold for the pair to find their way out of the shower.

And even then, they just move to the bedroom.

They have catching up to do.

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